Friday, September 12, 2008

A Day of Mournful Overcast 09/12/08

Rule Changes Would Give FBI Agents Extensive New Powers. Carrie Johnson. Washington Post: September 12, 2008.

The Post unveils new rules that are designed to "improve" information gathering between bureaucracies and help detect terrorist threats. But of course, the changes wouldn't be complete without extending the powers to simple, everyday criminal procedures and investigations. It would allow, for example, "agents to interview people in the United States about foreign intelligence cases without warrants or prior approval of their supervisors" and it rewrites the 1976 guidelines which were established after Nixon-era abuses to "restrict the FBI's authority to intervene in times of civil disorder and to infiltrate opposition group." FBI agents monitoring large-scale demonstrations that they believe could turn dangerous also would have new powers.

Anti-war veterans plan coffeehouse near Fort Lewis. Brent Champaco. Tacoma News Tribune: September 12, 2008.

This TNT article is so late, considering that the Seattle PI already reported on the coffeehouse over a month ago. It's sad that one has to read the Seattle newspapers to find out what's actually happening in Tacoma. Tully's Coffee company donated barista equipment to the coffeehouse project, not reported in the TNT story. People are talking about how "seditious" the project is in the comment section.

Turning Point in the Gang Crisis. Tom Hayden. The Nation Magazine: September 12, 2008.

Los Angeles city officials and police chiefs who loathe the idea of gang "peace processes" are now having to put up with paid peace workers and negotiators, many of whom are veterans of early 1990s gang wars. After the Crip and Blood truce of 1992, city and state officials fell through on their economic aid promises to inner city neighborhoods. A few years later the gangs were warring again. Today the LAPD continually harrasses the LA Hispanic population in particular (if you recall May Day 2007). Hayden and allies of the community are considered "thug huggers" by the police chief.

A Campaign Without Ideas. Eugene Robinson. September 11th, 2008.

A pro-Obama analysis of the Palin-McCain campaign strategy, which is not about "ideas", says Robinson, but rather about victimization from Democrats and the news media. While not in support of Obama like Robinson is, I also find the accusation that "left media" is victimizes the campaign striking, given that I was struck by a police baton outside of their convention and that this was paid for by a Republican insurance policy that covered up to $10 million in legal fees to be accumulated from policing the protests.

Cleared: Jury Decides That Threat of Global Warming Justifies Breaking the Law. Michael McCarthy. The Independent: September 11, 2008.

Greenpeace activists cleared of charges for causing more than £35,000 to a coal-fired plant. "The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action." During the eight-day trial, the world's leading climate scientist, Professor James Hansen of Nasa, flew to Britain to ask the Prime Minister personally to "take a leadership role" in scrapping the idea of a coal-fired future for Britain. Go team!


Kendlina said...

That last article is big news- it could set a precedent for court cases that enable more effective and frequent sabotage! Or it could be overturned, but I'd hope it is the glimmery beginnings of a new era

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, I like this article section - but why "mournful overcast"?

Acumensch said...

Kendlina - I agree, I'm curious to follow up on it.

A Day of Mournful Overcast?

1) it's the name of a zine I really like, written by a Spanish anarchist in the 1930s arguing for continuation of anarchic social organization rather than jumping into the process of militarization and nationalization.

2) it's usually overcast in the Pacific Northwest, where I'm from.